Dickinson County, Iowa GenealogyEdit This Page

From FamilySearch Wiki

(Redirected from Dickinson County, Iowa)

United States Gotoarrow.png Iowa Gotoarrow.png Dickinson County

Guide to Dickinson County, Iowa ancestry, family history, and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.


Dickinson County, Iowa
Map of Iowa highlighting Dickinson County
Location in the state of Iowa
Map of the U.S. highlighting Iowa
Location of Iowa in the U.S.
Founded January 15, 1851
County Seat Spirit Lake
Address Dickinson County Courthouse
1802 Hill Ave
Spirit Lake, IA 51360
Phone:(712) 336-1495
County Website


County Information

Dickinson County, Iowa Record Dates

Beginning Dates for Major County Records[1]
Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate
1880 1871 1880 1840 1861 1880?

County Courthouse

Dickinson County Courthouse
1802 Hill Ave
Spirit Lake, IA 51360

(712) 336-1495

Dickinson County


Parent County

1851--Dickinson County was created 15 January 1851 from unorganized territory. It was attached to Woodbury County prior to organization 3 August 1857.  County seat:  Spirit Lake [2]

Boundary Changes

For animated maps illustrating Iowa County boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Iowa County Boundary Maps" (1816-1872) may be viewed for free at the MapofUS.org website.

Record Loss

November 1871 -- Courthouse burned and many records were damaged. For a list of record loss in Iowa Counties see: Iowa Counties with Burned Courthouses

For further information on researching in burned counties, see the following:


Town/city records in the FamilySearch Catalog

Populated Places

Neighboring Counties

Clay • Emmet • O'Brien • Osceola • Palo Alto • Jackson County, Minnesota

Dickinson CountyEmmet CountyPalo Alto CountyClay CountyO'Brien CountyOsceola CountyKossuth CountyHumboldt CountyPocahontas CountyBuena Vista CountyCherokee CountyPlymouth CountySioux CountyLyon CountyNobles CountyJackson CountyMartin CountyMurray CountyCottonwood CountyWatonwan CountyBlue Earth CountyIADickinson (1).JPG



Cemeteries, IAGenWeb Dickinson County, Iowa

The Spirit Lake Public Library website has very through listings of cemetery burials in Dickinson county. On the main page of their website you can click the Do Research tab, and then select Local Cemetery Listings.

The diect link to that is www.spiritlake.lib.ia.us/do-research/cemeteryrecords


Iowa recorded not only the federal census but state census through out the years too. The state census contains very valuable genealogical information. Where the census information can be found, what years it was taken, mortality schedules, census substitutions and much more is discussed in the very informative Iowa Census article.


Most church records are held by individual churches. For contact information, check a phone directory, such as SearchBug or Dex Knows. Some denominations are gathering their records into a central repository. For more information about these major repositories, see Iowa Church Records.



  • The lake region blue book and club directory of Spirit Lake and vicinity. By Henrietta Comstock Wright. Spirit Lake, Iowa?: unknown, 1906. Online at: Ancestry.com ($)


Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.

See Iowa Land and Property for additional information about early Iowa land grants. After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded at the county courthouse, where records are currently housed.

Local Histories

Local histories are available for Dickinson County, Iowa Genealogy. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories, see the wiki page section Iowa Local Histories.

  • Smith, R. A. A history of Dickinson County, Iowa : together with an account of the Spirit Lake massacre, and the indian troubles on the northwestern frontier. Des Moines [Iowa] : Kenyon Print. & Mfg., 1902.
  • Wright, Henrietta Comstock. The lake region blue book and club directory of Spirit Lake and vicinity. [Spirit Lake? La. : s.n.], 1906.
  • Minnewaukon (Spirit Lake) and its legend : or an illustrated story of Okoboji and Spirit Lakes. [Des Moines : The Kenyon Company, 1910].
  • Green, H. O. Terrace Park [on Lake Okoboji]. [S.l. : s.n,] 1905.
  • History of Emmet County and Dickinson County, Iowa : a record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement.. Chicago, Ill.: Pioneer Pub. Co., 1917. Online at: Ancestry.com ($)




Wikipedia has more about this subject: List of online newspaper archives

NewspaperArchive.com ($) has a large collection of digitized Iowa newspapers online. This database is sometimes free at libraries.

Ancestry.com has most of the Spirit Lake Beacon from 1870 to 1977 in searchable form. From ancestry's home page, select Card Catalog under the Search tab. Search for Spirit Lake and select the Spirit Lake Beacon on the right. If the name you are searching for is common, use the keyword field and type the name in quotation marks like this: "John Sears." You will have to do an additional search for names with initials such as "John C. Sears" but that's still easier than reading all the ads for Sears stores, or whatever your name might be confused with.

  • Spirit Lake Beacon. 1870- 1889 Spirit Lake, Iowa, United States Of America. Online at: Ancestry.com ($)
  • Milford Mail. 1937-1941, 1943-1957 Milford, Iowa, United States Of America. Online at: Ancestry.com ($)
  • Lake Park News. 1958-1977 Lake Park, Iowa, United States Of America. Online at: Ancestry.com ($)
  • Terril Record. 1935-1956 Terril, Iowa, United States Of America. Online at: Ancestry.com ($)


Online Probate Records

In most counties in Iowa, probate records have been kept by the county judge. They include wills, fee books, claim registers, legacy records, inheritance records, probate ticklers, and dockets. The records are available at the county courthouse.

The FamilySearch Catalog lists films of probate records. To find the records for this county, use the Place Search for Iowa - Dickinson - Probate records.


Iowa tax records complement land records and can be used to supplement the years between censuses. Tax lists were usually made every year, however, there may be gaps of several years. For more information, see the wiki page Iowa Taxation.

Vital Records

Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents. A copy or an extract of most original records can be purchased from the Iowa Department of Public Health or the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred. See also How to order Iowa Vital Records or order electronically online.

Iowa began keeping vital records in 1880. Look in the Library catalog to find what is available for Dickinson county.


Societies and Libraries

Dickinson County Historical Society
1708 Keokuk Street
Spirit Lake IA 51360-1020

Spirit Lake Public Library
702 16th Street
Spirit Lake IA 51360

Family History Centers

Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes. See Family History Center for more information. Search the online FHC directory for a nearby family history center.


Sites with online indexes or images of records pertaining to Dickinson County, Iowa Genealogy
State Historical Society of Iowa Free list and links to data and "hard copy" material - results of "Dickinson county" placed in search box
The Iowa Heritage Digital Collection Free digital images from a variety of Iowa cultural institutions - results of "dickinson county" in the search box
State Library of Iowa Free electronic depository of documents intended for the general public produced by Iowa agencies - results of "dickinson county" in the search box
IAGenWeb Project Free Data may be submitted by individuals or complete transcriptions
USGenWeb Archives Free Data may be submitted by individuals or may be complete transcriptions
genealogytrails.com -Dickinson County page Free Data may be submitted by individuals or complete transcriptions
[1] [2][3] FamilySearch Free Births, 1880-1935; Deaths 1880-1992; Marriages, 1838-1934; all indexes
Sites that search for links pertaining to Dickinson County, Iowa Genealogy
RootsWeb Resources Free Data may be submitted by individuals or may be complete transcriptions
Linkpendium Free Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($)
CyndisList Free Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($)
iowa-genealogy.com Free Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($)
StateofUS.com Free family history resources and government records
Major catalogs for hard copy collections of Dickinson County, Iowa Genealogy
Books, microfilm, or manuscripts of genealogical records
FamilySearch Catalog Select topics. To select towns, add a comma to the search box.
WorldCat To find nearby libraries that have specific items, see WorldCat Online Catalog.
Allen County Public Library located in Indiana They are heavily involved in digitizing.
See also local libraries and Iowa Archives and Libraries
Social networking sites pertaining to Dickinson County, Iowa Genealogy
GeneaBloggers enter "Iowa" in search box to see list and links to Iowa blogs
Google+ list of groups from "iowa genealogy" search
Facebook list of groups from "Iowa Genealogy" search
genealogy.com Dickinson County, IA Genealogy Forum
ancestry.com Dickinson County Message Board


  1. Alice Eichholz, Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources, Revised ed. (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1992), 225-231. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27rb 1992
  2. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).


Need wiki, indexing, or website help? Contact our product teams.

Did you find this article helpful?

You're invited to explain your rating on the discussion page (you must be signed in).

  • This page was last modified on 24 October 2015, at 03:05.
  • This page has been accessed 8,903 times.